From the outside, I’m sure it looks that way.
I’m Kiki. My full name is Kielekea so you can understand why I prefer Kiki. It means “White Gardenia.” My name, like everything else about me, stands out in this family. Dad says that’s the name my Mom was set on and he didn’t have the heart to choose something different when she died. Ashley’s my Step-Mother.
She and Dad got married when I was 4 and had my little Step-Monster, eh, I mean Sister when I was 5. Ashley is…different. She’s kind of uptight and she doesn’t have much of a sense of humor but she’s the only Mother I’ve ever really known so I try to be nice to her even though I rarely agree with her. She loves things neat and tidy and the most important thing to her is keeping up appearances. Can’t have anyone thinking we’re not perfect.
And Samantha is…well, she’s just Samantha. She’s a bit mean spirited but we’ve all got our issues, right? I’m sure she’ll grow out of it…
My life is pretty boring. We moved to Twinbrook two years ago. Twinbrook is…bland. An endless sea of beige and gray lives, all trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Ashley homeschools us and, other than going into town for writing, cooking or music lessons, I don’t get out much. I just don’t feel like I fit in here. And, unfortunately, I’m really shy so it’s hard for me to talk to people, even when I do get out.
I spend most of my time reading, writing, playing the piano and painting. Life is pretty mundane.
Or it was…
Things began to change one night a few weeks ago and I didn’t even know it.
While I was sleeping peacefully, in the next room my Dad and Ashley were having a conversation that would eventually turn my life upside down.
“Sweetie, remember I told you my old college buddy was moving here?”
“Of course. You said he’s transferring to your office.”
“He is. The thing is, you know how bad the housing market is right now. They haven’t found anything. He’s supposed to start in a week and they still haven’t found anything. I offered to let him stay here while they keep looking. It seemed silly to let them stay in a hotel when we have all this space.”
“What?! Why didn’t you tell me? I don’t even know him. Doesn’t he have a teenaged son? Do you think that’s wise?”
“Calm down, Ash. He’s a good guy and, yeah, he’s got a son but that makes me even more determined they don’t shack up in a hotel somewhere. Can you imagine how hard this all has to be on the kid? It’s not like it’s forever. It’s just a few weeks until they get into a new house.”
“*Sigh* Well, you’ve already offerred. It’s not like we can take that back. I guess I’ll manage. Just a few weeks, right?”
“Yes. Try to relax, okay? What could possibly happen in just a few weeks time?”
Famous last words…